Unwrapped (short story) Available Now in Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification

A little over a year ago I found myself lamenting the stale clichés in much modern horror fiction, and particularly the overabundance of zombies and vampires. What classic monsters were being neglected, I wondered? What staple of monster-dom could use a freshening up and might lend itself to a challenging literary experiment? Werewolves had come back in a big way, thanks to popular books and TV shows like True Blood, so they were out (and I'd never been a big fan of lycanthropes anyway). I had already written a modern witch story (currently on submission). And then it hit me—mummies. The original shambling undead, awakened by greedy archaeologists and grunting as they trailed their rotted bandages through dusty museums to wreak their vengeance. If any classic monster needed a new spin, it was the poor, neglected mummy. I was also taking a short story workshop with the fantastically talented Laura van den Berg (author of The Isle of Youth) as instructor, so I had the perfect impetus to take the by-the-numbers mummy story and try to make it something fresh and special. In two days I nailed down a first draft, and I loved it. I had always had a fascination with ancient Egypt, so I made sure the details were historically accurate. I re-read the Egyptian Book of the Dead and re-acquainted myself with Egyptian concepts of the afterlife.

But the story was a puzzle. Nowhere was it explicitly stated that the bandaged, bedridden character was an ancient mummy, although I sprinkled enough hints to allow any savvy reader to figure it out. And then I started sending it out, first to Glimmer Train, and then a few other journals that sometimes featured stories with so-called "genre" elements. No one seemed to want it.

And then I saw, to my surprise, that a new publisher, Great Old Ones Publishing (a name I instantly loved, of course) was looking for stories for an anthology of fresh, innovative tales about . . . mummies.

I love serendipity.

So now you can read "Unwrapped," my reinvention and updating of the classic mummy story, in Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification, along with a bunch of other great stories. And I'm beyond delighted that for possibly the only time in my life I'm listed on the table of contents with H. P. Lovecraft, whose story "Under the Pyramids" concludes the anthology.

Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification (cover)

Order from your favorite indie bookstore (if you have one) or Amazon.